Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

Sheriff Scott Dupree has more problems than he can handle. As alpha of the St. Jerome wolf pack, he has to protect and care for his pack, and for some reason the males in the pack seem to be out of control and hormonal lately. Not only that, but Scott’s mother is casting love spells to bring his mate to him. Scott doesn’t want a mate right now, doesn’t have time for a mate. But worst of all, his mate has shown up in town, and his mate is a male. Scott is straight, but he can’t deny how badly his wolf wants the sexy man.

Ted Canedo is a disgraced ex-cop, gay, and a PI. That’s three strikes against him in the eyes of most law enforcement. But only Ted knows the truth about his past. As a patrolman, Ted fell in love with his straight, married-with-children partner. But that was before he knew Douglas was a dirty cop and Ted took the fall for him to protect Douglas’ family from knowing the truth. After that trauma, Ted vowed to never fall in love again. And it worked until he spotted the beautiful sheriff of a bayou country parish. The powerful pull to Scott Dupree is confusing and undeniable. But Ted refuses to set himself up for heartbreak again.

The love spell. Scott is sure that this is entirely his mother’s fault. He’s never been attracted to a man. Ever. Scott is positive that the only solution is to have his mother reverse the spell. Surely then, Scott and Ted can move on with their lives. Scott can find his real mate, his female mate – no matter what his wolf wants. And Ted can go back to his life in New Orleans, even if he’d rather stay.

Bayou Dreams is the first installment in the Rougaroux Social Club series by Lynn Lorenz. I absolutely love shifter and mates stories. There’s just something about the fated mate and finding that one meant for you that is extremely appealing. Bayou Dreams is one of those hope-filled stories. It, of course, is a wonderful story complete with magic, love, and forgiveness. The writing is captivating. The world-building is imaginative. And the characters are so very likable.

I love this entire cast. Not only the main characters, who are fantastic, but the amazing secondary cast as well. They are southern Louisiana Cajun, down home country, good ole’ boys (and girls). Lorenz has a knack for characterization. They are all sorts of endearing; even Wyatt –the main antagonist – is likable in his own way by the end. Scott’s maman is hilarious and possibly my favorite character in this book. She’s a good Catholic girl with a little backwoods voodoo in her. The entire secondary cast varies so much in personality and position. I look forward to reading more of them in the future.

As far as main characters go, these two are such likable, funny, relatable characters. Ted is protective and loving, but puts on this front to make people think that he doesn’t care. It’s his defense mechanism so he doesn’t get hurt. It took longer to like Scott. He’s not the typical “gay for you” character. He didn’t want a male mate. He denied it to the very end. Scott is his own worst enemy. But he becomes more endearing and attractive towards the end of the story. Through most of the book I just wanted to slap some sense into him, but he’s a good character. He just needs more time to work things out in his head.

The relationship between Scott and Ted is inevitable from the beginning, but for all of the fighting and denial, I was happy to finally see them make it. From the get go, their connection is frustrating and fiery. They are both strong men that make an interesting couple. My only complaint with the relationship is the instant love aspect. They only really knew each other for a little over a week before “I love you” was spoken.

The world is new and exciting. I adore the clash of Cajun culture and pack culture. The acceptance of the pack with the stereotypical bigotry of a small town. Lynn creates a world that is both magical and dark in a voodoo way, but fresh and captivating.

And the story. There is so much that happens from beginning to end. The mystery of Ted’s PI investigation. The forbidden/unwanted love story. The paranormal/pack acceptance storyline. It’s enrapturing from beginning to end. There is always something going on and something to pay attention to.

I only have a couple niggles. First, I’m a details person, and I notice when things don’t match up. There was a timing issue with the full moon cycle that had me flipping back and forth between pages. And there was another detail with the keys to the club and who actually had their own set. Yes, they are both small details, but like I said I’m a details person and it made me a little twitchy. And second, the PI storyline ended a little too easily. I wanted more conflict with reason there – why did the thugs attack Ted? Why did they take his money? Why didn’t they mention the wolf attack to their boss? – but the arc of that story was flat and a little disappointing.

In the end, I really liked this story. The characters are immediately endearing. The story is engaging. And the world is fabulous. I highly recommend you read this book, especially if you are a paranormal fan, such as myself. I’m excited to continue reading on to see where this series leads.